President Jacob Zuma listens as Members of Parliament (MPs) debate the 2017 State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament. Picture: David Ritchie/ANA

Johannesburg - The DA is seeking a declaratory order from the court to declare the R15.3 million spent by former president Jacob Zuma on legal fees as unlawful. 

The party also wants the courts to compel the Presidency to recoup the funds from Zuma and that the DA be appointed as the supervisor in the process to recoup the funds. 

On Tuesday the DA revealed a letter from the State Attorney that stated that the state had paid R15 300 250.00 on Zuma's legal costs since 2009. 

The DA argues that this money should be recovered by the State as Zuma was defending the spy tapes case in his own personal capacity using taxpayers’ money for crimes he committed before 2009. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the party had sent a letter to the Presidency on the matter. 

Maimane said some of the questions submitted to Ramaphosa include statements made by his spokesperson that the payments to for Zuma's legal fees were done in line with the State Attorney Act.  

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Khusela Diko, Ramaphosa's spokesperson, said the President had no reason to believe that there is a basis to recoup the money spent on Zuma's legal fees. 

She told the Mail&Guardian that the payments were done in line with the State Attorney Act.   

Maimane has questioned the basis used by Ramaphosa to rely on the act as a reason not to recoup the money. 

The DA has complained that Zuma did not make use of the state attorney to defend him, but instead made use of expensive private legal services.  

 "Zuma took it upon himself to hire the "Rolls Royce" in the legal fraternity, the most expensive counsel," said Maimane.

"We also need to determine the basis of the agreement between Zuma and Thabo Mbeki, and whether such an agreement exists currently with President Ramaphosa," said Maimane. 

The agreement he is refereeing to dates back to when Mbeki was President and Zuma was facing charges. 

The Financial Mail quoted Ramaphosa's spokesperson Tyrone Seale saying that the state would continue to pay for Zuma's legal fees based on agreement between the two former presidents.  

Zuma agreed back in 2006 that he would pay back the money, spent on legal fees, if he was found to have acted in his own personal capacity. 

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